Top 10 Things for Active Travelers to Do in Traverse City | Midwest Living
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Top 10 Things for Active Travelers to Do in Traverse City

Stunning views of Lake Michigan reward adventure-seekers in Traverse City during an active Midwest weekend getaway.
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
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Leelanau State Park
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Cherry Republic
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1) Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Some of the most spectacular scenery in Michigan lies on this 64-mile expanse of the Leelanau Peninsula—especially along Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive (about 26 miles west of Traverse City). The massive dunes climb 450 feet, tempting visitors to race from the Lake Michigan Overlook to the lake below. (Scrambling to the top is slower going and requires significantly more effort.) (888) 334-8499; sleepingbeardunes.com

2) TART Trail Stretching 10 miles east-west across Traverse City, TART (Traverse Area Recreation Trail) is one of several paths in a linked system that includes the Boardman Trail along the shores of Boardman Lake and the Leelanau Trail, which extends 15 miles north to Suttons Bay. Jog, bike, skate or stroll past beaches, forests, city streetscapes and residential neighborhoods. (231) 941-4300; traversetrails.org

3) The River In the repurposed Clinch Park Zoo and Marina on downtown Traverse City’s waterfront, this outfitter supplies kayaks, canoes, stand-up paddleboards, float tubes and bikes for people-powered adventures. One choice: A combo bike and kayak tour that consists of biking the TART Trail and kayaking back. (231) 883-1413; therivertraversecity.com

4) Grand Traverse Bike Tours Break up a 10-mile bike ride on picturesque country roads with wine tasting at several of the pretty wineries in Leelanau County or beer sampling at a Traverse City craft brewery. A boxed picnic lunch, pick-up service for any purchases and a shuttle back to the starting point complete the package. (231) 421-6815; grandtraversebiketours.com

5) Gallagher's Farm Market and Bakery Among the most popular of the region's many farm markets, Gallagher's serves up an authentic country experience along with fresh cherries, baked goods and produce. gallaghersfarmmarkettc.com

6) Traverse City beaches Sugar-soft sand and soaring dunes along the pristine Lake Michigan waters means the beaches on this 180-mile stretch are sure things. Clinch Park is the biggest and busiest beach, with a trail that connects to downtown, but it’s also worth checking out West End for beach volleyball and Bryant Park for sunset viewing. (231) 947-1120; traversecity.com/beaches-22/ 

7) Black Star Farms Part of the booming agritourism market, this destination blends a winery, restaurant, market and hiking area into one incredible attraction. Pamper yourself with an overnight stay in the luxurious inn (rates start from $150 in the low season), or just wander the gorgeous property, taste award-winning wines like the A Capella Pinot Noir and dine on farm to table cuisine. (231) 944-1270; blackstarfarms.com

8) Leelanau State Park Perched at the northernmost tip of the Leelanau Peninsula, this waterfront park commands 1,300 acres of natural beauty. Enjoy it via rustic campsites, hiking and cross-country skiing trails, fishing areas, picnic facilities and other amenities. Tour Grand Traverse Lighthouse and Museum in the summer, and watch for  endangered piping plover birds on Cathead Bay. (231) 386-5422; leelanaustatepark.com

9) Cherry Republic There’s a satellite store in Traverse City, but for the full-on experience, head 25 miles northwest to the flagship winery-cafe-general store in Glen Arbor. Pace yourself! There’s a lot to browse and taste at this three-building facility, including wine, soda, hard cider, salsa, granola, mustard, chocolate and baked goods. Don’t even think about leaving without a slice of cherry pie a la mode.  (800) 206-6949; cherryrepublic.com

10) Traverse Tall Ship Company Crew members invite passengers to try hoisting the sails on the Manitou, a 114-foot replica schooner. But there’s plenty of time to relax over snacks and drinks during the two-hour cruise, too. tallshipsailing.com

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